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Parliament passed law on oligarchs

23.09.2021, 16:47
Photo credit: golos.com.ua
Photo credit: golos.com.ua

On September 23, the Verkhovna Rada adopted in the second reading and in general the bill №5599 "On Prevention of Threats to National Security Related to Excessive Influence of Persons Who Have Significant Economic or Political Weight in Public Life (Oligarchs)".

He was supported by 279 MPs, Ukrinform reports.

The document provides for amendments to a number of laws in order to create a register of persons who have significant economic or political weight in public life (oligarchs), determines the procedure for entering these persons to the Register and the consequences of such inclusion, establishes declaration procedure for public officials in case of communications with the persons mentioned in the register.

Thus, according to the adopted law, an oligarch is an individual who simultaneously meets at least three of the following characteristics:

-participates in political life;

-has a significant influence on the media;

-is the ultimate beneficial owner of an economic entity, which after the date of entry into force of this law is a natural monopoly or holds a monopoly (dominant) position in the market in accordance with the Law "On Protection of Economic Competition" and for one consecutive year maintains or strengthens such position;

-the confirmed value of the assets of the person and business entities of which he is the beneficiary exceeds 1 million subsistence minimums established for able-bodied persons on January 1 of the respective year.

The value of assets is calculated in totality according to the size of the assets of the person and business entities, the beneficiary of which is such a person. When calculating the value of such assets, the assets owned by a person in the media are not taken into account.

The decision to recognize a person an oligarch is made by the National Security and Defense Council on the basis of a proposal from the Cabinet of Ministers, a member of the National Security and Defense Council, the National Bank, the Security Service or the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine.

In the space of 10 working days before the day of the meeting aimed to recognize a person to be an oligarch is scheduled  the staff of the National Security and Defense Council shall notify an interested person of such a meeting at the place of its registration. The notice after its sending is published on the official website of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine.

A person who has was notified, or who read it on the official website of the National Security and Defense Council, has the right to submit to the Office of the National Security and Defense (…)

The decision of the National Security and Defense Council to recognize a person as an oligarch is the basis for the inclusion of such persons in the register of oligarchs.

It is envisaged that the official website of the National Security and Defense Council provides free and free information to the register with the ability to view, copy and print it, including in the form of an electronic document organized in a format that allows its automated processing by electronic means for reuse.

Persons included in the register are forbidden to: make any contribution in the form of own funds, performance of works, provision of goods, services or in the form of cash, performance of works, provision of goods, services by related parties and / or legal entities whose ultimate beneficial owner there is such a person, in support of parties, to make contributions to the election funds of candidates (except for their own election fund), parties during the election process in accordance with the Electoral Code; to be a buyer (buyer's beneficiary) in the process of privatization of large-scale privatization objects; to finance any political agitation, or to hold rallies or demonstrations with political demands.

A person recognized to be an oligarch is obliged to submit a declaration of a person authorized to perform the functions of the state or local self-government from the moment of his / her inclusion in the register , in accordance with the procedure established by the Law "On Prevention of Corruption".

Prior to the second reading of the bill, MPs introduced the definition of a representative of a person included in the register (representative of an oligarch) - a natural person who holds meetings (conversations) with public officials on behalf and / or in the interests of a person included in the register.

In case of contact of a public servant with a person included in the register or his / her representative, such public servant is obliged to submit a declaration of contacts.

Violation of the obligation to file a declaration of contacts is grounds for bringing a person to political and / or disciplinary responsibility.

Failure to notify the person included in the register or his / her representative of the fact of his / her inclusion or the person he / she represents in the register shall not release the public servant from liability for failure to submit the declaration of contacts.

The law is expected to be in vigour for 10 years.

The consideration caused many disputes in the Rada and clashes under the parliament, as Suspilne reported

The deputies agreed to consider the draft law on the status of oligarchs ad hoc - under the abbreviated procedure of discussion. People's deputies submitted 1,270 amendments to the document and the committee recommended voting for them not separately for each, but in a "package”.

Two bills on de-oligarchization have been included in the agenda of the Verkhovna Rada of the current plenary week. The relevant decision was made by voting during the conciliation board, as Ukrinform reported.

Within the plenary week, on September 21-24, MPs will the bills №5599 “On prevention of threats to national security related to excessive influence of persons of significant economic or political importance in public life (oligarchs) and №5600 “On Amendments to the Tax Code of Ukraine and Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Concerning Ensuring Balance of Budget Revenues” consider in the second reading.

As IMI reported, on September 17, the Verkhovna Rada Committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence recommended that the parliament adopt in the second reading the bill #5599 on oligarchs.

On September 16, the Venice Commission started considering Ukraine's request to evaluate the bill №5599 "On Prevention of Threats to National Security Related to Excessive Influence of Persons Who Have Significant Economic or Political Weight in Public Life (Oligarchs)".

On September 10, as IMI reported, Verkhovna Rada Chairman Dmytro Razumkov announced that the bill on deoligarchization had been submitted to the Venice Commission for examination .

As IMI reported, on September 3, the Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights Lyudmyla Denisova addressed an official letter to the Chairman of Parliament pointing at the inconsistency of the draft law with the Constitution. Denisova said the bill on oligrachs conflicted with the Constitution. She addressed an official letter to the Chairmen of the Parliament Dmytro Razumkov, pointing at inconsistency of the draft law №5599 “On Prevention of Threats to National Security Related to Excessive Influence of Persons Who Have Significant Economic or Political Weight in Public Life (Oligarchs)", "In my opinion, in order to abide with rights and freedoms of citizens and to prevent its violations, while adopting this legislative initiative, this is indispensible to refer it to the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) before the second reading," Denisova suggested.

As IMI reported, on July 1, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the bill #5599 " On Prevention of Threats to National Security Related to Excessive Influence of Persons Who Have Significant Economic or Political Weight in Public Life (Oligarchs)" in first reading.

On June 2, President Volodymyr Zelensky submitted the bill to the Verkhovna Rada as of high priority.

On May 20, Zelensky announced the bill on de-oligarchization was to be issued next days, the bill which, in particular, would weaken the oligarchs' influence on the media. 

On May 27, “Dzerkalo Tyzhdnya” (zn.ua) edition got acquainted with the text of the bill "On Oligarchs" (elaborated by a working group in the Ministry of Justice) and looked insight its main provisions. The edition claimed that the bill "On Oligarchs" risks becoming a law on media raiding.

The President's Office said that the content of the bill on oligarchs published by ZN.UA did not correspond to the text prepared by the OP. 

IMI Executive Director Oksana Romanyuk found that the bill "On Oligarchs", published by ZN.UA, lays the foundations for a major repartition of the media market and its switchover to the shadows.

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